COLUMBUS, Ga — Professional hockey in Columbus has new life. Fidel Jenkins, chairman and president of Residential World Media, confirms he is purchasing the Southern Professional Hockey League affiliation for Columbus. Jenkins says he is “absolutely committed” to keeping the team in Columbus. Residential World Media is based in New York.
The purchase of the affiliation is being negotiated directly with the SPHL, not previous Columbus Cottonmouths owners Wanda Amos and her family. The deal would not include Cottonmouths branding or trademarks. Jenkins did not disclose what branding or nickname the new Columbus team would have.
The plan is for the team to resume playing in the SPHL for the 2018-19 season. The team suspended operations on May 3, missing the deadline to be included in the 2017-18 schedule.
Jenkins says they have a “dynamic plan” for the franchise and are holding meetings with potential sponsors. He says he has spoken with the mayor and other city officials about their plan as well. The Cottonmouths played their home games in the Columbus Civic Center beginning in 1996.
In March, Amos announced the team was being put up for sale, and new ownership would be required for the franchise to continue playing after the 2016-17 season. The Amos family owned the team for 17 years, after purchasing the franchise from founder Charlie Morrow in 2001.
The SPHL will operate with 10 teams next season, after the addition of the expansion Birmingham Bulls.
Phone calls to the SPHL were not immediately returned.